Grapevine Nov. 6, 2021: Missed the bus?

Non-residents of Tel Aviv, who have not traversed the familiar streets of the “city that never sleeps” in over a year, will be surprised by the many changes. The volume of construction, with tall tower developers competing with each other in height in the ambition to reach for the sky, entire streets of renovated apartment blocks, and many streets blocked as construction crews dig deep into the ground to ensure firm foundations for new construction. high-rise residential, office and commercial projects that continue to change the face of the city. Yet despite all of that, Tel Aviv shows much more respect for ancient historical buildings than Jerusalem. Instead of gutting or tearing them down as is often the case in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv fixes them up and restores them to their original greatness.

The general idea is to make Tel Aviv a brighter city than it already is. That means a lot of architectural sacrifices to make way for new, modern construction on the site. One of the largest projects of its kind is the Tel Aviv Central Bus Terminal South, which is on the verge of disappearing and with it not only numerous outlets with an incredible variety of affordable merchandise but also Little Manila. It is like a home away from home for Filipino caregivers and other members of the Filipino community; African culinary and cultural outlets; and the shtetl library-museum, lovingly cared for by Mendy Cahan, founder of Yung Yidish, who for several months has been searching for a new home for the old world atmospheric treasure that he and his team so carefully created. An ideal place both culturally and geographically would be a section of the great hall of the Habimah Theater. The location is relatively easy to find for people from out of town. You could complement Habimah with a mini Yiddish cabaret during intermission and many people might prefer a brandy, a piece of herring, a pickled cucumber or a plate of cholent to the food served at Habimah outlets. But it is doubtful that Habimah agrees.

Yung Yiddish has played an extraordinary role in Jewish outreach. Many immigrants from the former Soviet Union are interested in reclaiming their Jewish heritage, but not necessarily on a religious level. They have enjoyed the opportunity to peruse Yiddish literature, learn Yiddish songs, and embrace a culture that refuses to die no matter how many obituaries it may have been subjected to.

Cahan, who is himself a singer and storyteller with a captivating personality, has helped make that happen. Furthermore, the Yiddish books and magazines that you have accumulated over the years are, in some cases, worthy of being placed in the ethnic section of a museum.

Leaving aside for the moment the hundreds of people who will temporarily or permanently lose their livelihood and the people who may suffer emotionally and psychologically with the disappearance of their cultural and social anchors, where is there consideration for the tens of thousands of passengers who pass through ? the Central Bus Terminal daily?

The old Central Bus Terminal, which is within walking distance of what is known as the New Central Bus Terminal, continued to operate until the current terminal became operational. While there is talk of finding new locations for the many buses to and from destinations across the country, there is no suitable alternative at this time to Tel Aviv’s South Central Bus Terminal, from where it is relatively easy to catch connecting buses. to almost anywhere in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in Israel. What is about to happen now is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

■ TWO YEARS ago, Neal Imperial, former Philippine ambassador to Israel, presented the premiere at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque of Quezon’s Game, an excellent documentary that tells the story of how then-President Manuel Quezon, in defiance of the Nazi presence in The Philippines, opened the doors of its country to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Some of those Jews eventually made their way to Israel. For many years, diplomatic representatives of the Philippines waged a long struggle with Yad Vashem for Quezon to be recognized as Righteous Among the Nations or for Yad Vashem to recognize him in some other way for what he did at great personal risk. His efforts were finally successful. Meanwhile, Rishon Lezion signed a sister city agreement with Quezon City, as a result of which Macairog S. Alberto, the current Philippine ambassador, joined forces with the mayor of Rishon Lezion, Raz Kinstlich, to show the film again, but this time in Rishon Lezion. The screening was attended by Rafael Harpaz, deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Asia and the Pacific, and Margot Pins Kestenbaum, who to some extent owes her life to Quezón and is a regular guest at bilateral events organized by the Philippine Embassy.


■ FORMER COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER and former MK Ayoub Kara, who served in Knessets 15, 16, 18 and 20, was called from time to time as a minister in the government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu to represent the government at national day receptions organized by the ambassadors of foreign countries. To his credit, he’s not afraid to deliver speeches in English and will do so in Florida on Wednesday, November 17, and Thursday, November 18, when, as a guest of CAMERA, he will address the question: Is Israel apartheid? state? It should be remembered that Kara is a Druze and not a Jew. Yet despite it all, he is, in many respects, a far greater Zionist than many Jews and one of the most loyal of the Likudniks. He was also tremendously loyal to Benjamin Netanyahu, who often treated him lightly.

Wednesday’s event will be at the Marriott Hotel in West Palm Beach and Thursday’s event will be at the Bocaire Country Club in Boca Raton.

■ IN AN article on the commemoration of the Battle of Beersheba that appeared in the Grapevine last Wednesday, Ambassador Thomas Goldberger, former deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, ​​was mentioned. But the capacity in which he was at the event was as the “Representative of the Director General” in Israel for the Multinational Force and Observers, whose officers from the Australian and New Zealand contingents always participate in the commemorations of the Battle of Beersheba, as well as in the ANZAC Day memorial. services.

Goldberger and his wife Eden have been returning to Israel since January 2020, but since so many people kept a low profile over the past two years, not everyone he had met as DCM knew of his presence. He leads a team of about 20 people based in Bnei Brak and supports MFO soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. After Goldberger completed his previous position in Israel as a DCM, he went to Baghdad and then Cairo for five years before leaving the State Department and joining the MFO.

Eden Goldberger was able to reconnect with old friends residing in Israel and currently serves as president of the Israeli branch of the International Women’s Club.

■ WHILE ISRAEL’s strange coalition has been able to avoid losing its attachment, despite the wide variety of ideologies, the recommendations of government ministers of talented and experienced people to head the boards of the main state-owned companies have been rejected. First, it was Amir Peretz, who despite having been a successful mayor of Sderot, head of the Histadrut Federation of Labor, former defense minister and chairman of the Labor Party, was rejected for the presidency of Israel Aerospace Industries on the grounds that there was insufficient management experience.

Emi Palmor, a former director general of the Ministry of Justice, who has spent almost half her life as a civil servant and who has spearheaded numerous initiatives, reforms, committees and courts, was nominated to chair the Israel Electric Corporation and was also rejected. on the grounds that he did not have the appropriate managerial qualifications.

Peretz had been supported by Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palmor, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Energy Minister Karen Elharar. The question is whether Peretz and Palmor were scapegoats for someone who has it against certain members of the current regime.

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